Thursday, August 23, 2012

Got a Breath Mint....

I have always known that garlic is good for your health, but never knew how to boost its healing power.  To get the most health benefits from garlic, let it sit for a few minutes before cooking. Letting garlic sit awhile helps to release an enzyme that provides powerful nutrients for the body. Raw garlic can be used to kill bacteria, but cooked garlic has a higher potency which is more suitable for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Ideally, you should crush the garlic at room temperature and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes.  The active component in garlic is a sulfur compound called allicin.   Allicin is the chemical produced when garlic is bruised, chopped or chewed. Allicin is quite strong as an antibiotic.  It is also a powerful agent that helps to prevent germs from reproducing in our bodies. It's said that 1 milligram of allicin has the potency of 15 standard units of penicillin.  So, from now I will chop and wait 15.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lemon Thyme Yogurt Cake....

Here is another Ina recipe.  I did change a few things.  I used non-fat plain Greek yogurt instead of whole milk and where the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, I used 1/4 cup canola and 1/4 cup coconut oil.  Because I have so much lemon thyme and I just love the flavor, I added a few teaspoons into the batter and the glaze.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon thyme

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

 As usual I'm impatient.  You can see I didn't let the glaze dry.  I should have waited at least 10 more minutes.  Still delicious!  You can't beat an Ina recipe.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Sauce...and Mussels

This is not my family's traditional recipe for sauce. That will be for another time later in the fall when your body starts to crave something more substantial.  This is more of a light summer sauce.  Perfect for a summer meal with pasta or in this case mussels.  It's a marinara that is deliciously sweet from the long simmering mild Vidalia onions.   Here's the recipe enjoy!
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 large can whole Italian tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato puree
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  1. In a large skillet add olive oil, onions and garlic.  cook on medium heat until the onions are translucent.  4-5 minutes.
  2. Run the tomatoes through a food mill or blender.  Add to onion mixture.
  3. Add puree, bay leaf, basil, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer over low medium heat.  Turn heat to low and simmer 2 hours stirring frequently.
  4. Turn of heat and adjust seasoning  
Now for the recipe for the Mussels Marinara.  In a large skillet or pot add 1 cup of the marinara,  1/2 cup white wine, 2 cloves garlic minced, handful of chopped parsley and 2 springs of lemon thyme.  Throw 2 pounds of mussels in , cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes or until all the shells open.  Discard any of the mussels that failed to open.
I especially love this recipe made with the home made marinara.  You just can't beat the flavor. After I was finished eating the mussels I just couldn't leave all that delicious sauce in the bottom of the pot. So I grilled a few slices of French bread to soak it all up.  Mmmm yummy!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Grilled Salmon with Pesto......

This is beyond easy.  After squeezing the salmon filet with lemon juice, I spread my homemade pesto all over the top.  Wrapped the whole thing in a double layer of aluminum foil threw it on the grill and grilled it for 10 minutes.  This moist grilled salmon shared the plate with a  mixed green salad tossed with a simple lemon vinaigrette.  Delicious!

I enjoy trying to cook tasty healthy meals for my family and you can't get more healthy than salmon. This piece gave us three decent sized portions packed with omega-3 fatty acids. 
I'm feeling healthier already!!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Serving Up Summer.....

I took a bite out of summer tonight and it was in the shape of this delicious vegetable salad. The recipe comes from one of my favorite cooking blogs The Spice Garden.   Susan has no fear in the kitchen and makes a myriad of amazing dishes. Here is the recipe.

3 ears of fresh corn
1 1/2 lb. fresh green beans, washed and tipped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/4 c. olive oil
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 yellow tomato, sliced into 1/2 inch chunks
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt
Making the Salad:
  1. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and cook the corn for about 7 minutes. Remove the corn and drop it into a  big bowl of ice water.
  2. Drop the prepped green beans into the same boiling water and cook for about 7 minutes – until tender crisp. Drop the beans into the ice water to stop the cooking.
  3. Cut the corn kernels from the corncobs and run the knife down the cobs to bring out the sweet juices. Place the corn and juices in a salad bowl.
  4. Drain the beans and let them dry on some paper towels. Slice in half on the diagonal and add to the corn.
  5. Smash the garlic cloves and add them to the beans and corn.
  6. Toss 3 tbsp. of the olive oil into the mix and set the bowl aside to let the garlic spread its essence.
  7. Prepare the onions and tomatoes.
  8. Just before serving, toss the red wine vinegar, tomatoes, and onions into the salad.
  9. Sprinkle on kosher salt and drizzle the rest of the olive oil.
  10. Serve with a nice crusty bread and red wine.
I did make a few additions.  I used half a pound of butter beans along with the green beans, a sliced orange pepper and added two medium read potatoes. I really liked the creaminess of the potato along with the crispness of the other vegetables.  Visit Susan's blog, you will love her recipes.  Thank you Susan,  the salad was a huge hit. 

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